Silence, then a thrush.
a deeper silence.
Clouds dissolving into blue.
Painting by Ernst Haeckel
It took me much of a lifetime to realize this. So I share it now to save some time for those who might wrestle with the same issues. If this is not your concern, or if it offends you, just leave it. I share it with love.
When your connection with Being is established, you have no further need for a 'spiritual movement.' Being flows directly into your heart, without any intermediary. No need to go to an ashram. You Are the ashram. With every breath, you flower. From belly to crown, your stem imbibes the sap of the Guru's grace, so there is no need to chase after him anywhere else. You always have the practice, the sadhana, that the Teacher gave you, wherever you go.
Now it becomes crystal clear that the karma of the Teacher is completely different from the karma of the organization established in his or her name. If it's your karma to work for the movement, then let the work unfold. But know that it is not 'higher' than any other work. It's just karma. If it's no longer your karma, respectfully let it go. The greatest service you can give humanity, is not to work for a movement, either spiritual or political, but to radiate Being. Radiate Being from the boundless core of your own heart.Another liberating flower photo by Kristy Thompson
This is not a poem, just a murmur
whose poor thoughts won't reach
the edge of the page.
I just want you to know,
in the first language of
Spirit and Breath are one word.
Wisdom is Sophia, the soul in
your breathing, and if you are awake,
each exhalation is the Holy Spirit,
the sigh of the Creator in creation.
Goddess Shakti is your
who birthed the sun in the beginning
when She danced with the deep green shadow.
And though her womb enfolds
the galaxies, She whirls
inside your body, trickles down
your vertebrae, weaving
awareness into flesh.
Call her the dignity
of what flows without trying,
the wind that awakens at sunset.
honey sweating from a comb.
Call her the delight of Ruu,
the Chi who dwells in your
like the flame on a wick.
What are you made of, really?
It is like finespun cotton fiber
instantly consumed by her golden spark.
Your breathing ignites the stars
on invisible strands of pure attention.
Tend her fire in the temple of your lungs
and you will permeate the earth
like fragrance in a flower.
Become her whisper,
Honor her by listening to bees.
Their humming is the voice
of the Magdalene.
But you will hear her most beautiful name
in the rising and falling of
Friend, just swim in this river of amazement.
Let it pour down your hollow
like wine that is saved for the end of the wedding.
How do I know this?
I am breathed.
Painting by Marie Laparco
He became pure consciousness. One who experiences this
merely for a moment is disinterested even in the delights
of heaven. ~Yoga Vashista
Adau Bhagavan shabda rasahi: 'In the beginning the Lord
created the universe through a stream of sound.' ~Vedic text
You know the sound of blood, that drum.
You know the sound of breathing out,
that river of diamonds.
And the sound of your mind
trying to make music out of shattered
mirrors and windows.
But have you heard the sound of Being
as it overflows the rim of the grail?
Not the feeble background hum
of the first moment,
not an echo, nor an idea.
I see you before you were born
floating through a pit, a silent hollow,
tethered by the umbilicus
to what, to whom you cannot know.
But you would like to know, wouldn't you?
So you reach out a warm
and swirl it round the singing bowl
of Andromeda, careful not to spill
its bright worlds.
You play the glass harmonium
of all the galaxies until
the amniotic fluid of the universe
trembles like an unstruck carillon,
because it resonates in emptiness.
No, that is not the sound of Being.
You must get
down and get born to hear it
gushing like a sudden wound,
tearing the veil of the continuum
in the silence of the void,
a terrible ecstatic cry of
"Kali Ma! O Kali Ma!"
This is the ineluctable chime.
This is the sound of Being,
the breathless kiss of consciousness
NASA photo, Andromeda galaxy
In meditation, silence is Mother. ~Amma Karunamayi
Silence is supreme administrative power. ~Maharishi
The real Virgin Mother is mystical eternal silence.
~Valentinus the Gnostic
I love your silences. They are like mine. ~Anais Ninn
Let us speak of true Silence. No, it is not a negation. Not the silence of suppressed speech, which is no silence at all. Suppressed speech, like repressed thought, is a scream. And the more we repress, the louder our voiceless keening.
Let us tell of the inmost Silence, omnipresent, effective, whether spoken or not. Silence infusing the best words with Truth. Silence in a real mantra, guiding our attention to the hollow in the seed, through Winter root, Spring flower, Autumn leaf.
In the hymn from chapter two of Epistle to Ephesians are some of the most ancient verses in Christian scripture. They tell us that Christ "emptied himself." The Greek word is "kinosis." When we empty ourselves in prayer, we enter true Silence, the Silence that was there before God said, "Let there be light."
The emptiness that pervades all forms, this silence gushes tears from the spring of joy in the womb of creation. This Silence is the mother of the Word, the mother of poetry, the mother of music.
Painting, Mary Magdalene by Georges de La Tour
Jesus, Krishna, Buddha and Mohammad went to a pub. It was quite an evening. When it was very late, the tavern keeper brought them the bill. They began to argue.
Jesus looked at Krishna and said, "Purnamadah purnamidam. You claim your pot is full no matter how much we take out, so you pay the bill!"
Krishna looked at Buddha and said, "You don't cling to anything because you claim its all Emptiness. Why don't you empty your pockets?"
Buddha looked at Jesus and said, "You call yourself the lamb, and talk about sacrifice. You could at least pay our tab."
Then all three of them stared at the Prophet in silence. "Don't look at me," he said. "I don't drink." They kept staring. "Well all right," he said, "I'll admit I took a taste, but I didn't swallow."
That did it. They erupted into a heated argument until The Tavern Keeper, who wanted his money, walked over to their table. "Calm down," he said, "and listen to me. The wine is Love. The tipsier you get the more you give, and the more you give the tipsier you get, until you're as drunk as God. Therefore the most hammered among you should act like it and pay the bill for everybody!"
Hearing that, all four of them emptied their pockets, paying the tab and honoring the tavern keeper with an enormous tip. Then, linking arms, they staggered out into the night, singing a crazy song of friendship that no one can seem to remember.
"Glorify God in your body." ~1 Corinthians 6:20
"Your body is a precious gift from nature, from God. Honor your body." ~Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
God is not an out of body experience. Does this flower have to get out of its body to become divine radiance? Of course not. Creator-Spirit seeks an ordinary miraculous blossoming weed to express Herself in matter.
Mother Matter is God-Consciousness delighting in form. With what rapture does the Divine delight in your eyes, the curve of your lips, the roundness of your belly!
You can never be out of your body. The softest wave of your anatomy is the fabric of space itself. Do you have any edges? Does your body not enfold every stranger? All races and tribes co-mingle in the rivers of your blood. No one is excluded from the fireside gathering of your tribal heartbeat. You share 70% of your DNA with a fruit fly, 65% with a banana. Your nervous system entangles forests, deserts, mountains. Your pulse aligns the planets. Your breath turns the galaxy.
"Ano raniyan, mahato mahiyan" declares the Upanishad: "one atom of the smallest is greater than the greatest." A synapse between two neurons in your brain, flashing with this moment of awareness, condenses the energy of all the stars in Andromeda. In a single photon of your flesh, choir upon choir of heavenly beings stand ranked in shimmering fire, petals in a vast chrysanthemum.As you fall asleep tonight, and as you wake in the morning, savor the rising and falling of your chest. It is the ocean of love.
Photo art by Kristy Thompson
“Purify the temple with that showerby which the star people of the Milky Wayhave come here.” ~Rig Veda, Suktah 49, II, 25
And what if the temple is your body? And what if this breath is that shower which pours all the stars down your spine? Your subtlest exhalation is a ripple on the ocean of cosmic existence. It's infinitesimal tremor touches the rim of the galaxy, bathing all the worlds. Then it returns to you, bearing the intimate music of the distant spheres. No effort is required. In fact, it is not even your breath, but a breath of the Goddess. All that is required is a little awareness. This most perfect and powerful spiritual practice was given to you just before birth by the first guru, your mother.
Photo by Joy M. Ibizarose
You are the wine
that cannot return
to the grape.
Some ferment has turned you
Thousands have been crushed
for the sake of this breath,
bouquet of oak and rose,
cinnamon and musk,
Spring rain on withered hay.
The tree of the Vedas,
the whole vine of knowledge
entangled in the hollow
of a tiny seed,
the place your forehead goes
when you bow.
Astronomy and silence,
wisdom and tipsiness,
what's the difference?
Just say thank you
and savor yourself.
I don't need to hear your story. I will listen of course, just to be kind, but I'm pretty sure I've already heard it. Our "personal" myths are not as unique as we think. Most of them are versions of the same old story, the most popular one in the world: My Tale Of Woe.
The universe doesn't need to hear your story either, but the universe will echo it back to you if you insist. Because the universe is an echo-chamber. That's its job. Like an efficient post office, the universe will return to sender, and you will live your story again and again.
But if you're fortunate, you will get tired of your story. You will wake up and realize it never turns out any differently, no matter how often you tell it. And if you're very fortunate, you'll meet someone who will say, "shut up!" They will say it in a gentler way of course, with the mere power of Presence, and you will stop story telling. You will become hopeless.
In true compassion, the Listener will offer you something more profound than any tale of woe: the silence of pure Being. You will let this silence penetrate your body, permeating every nerve, overflowing the nucleus of each cell.
To give up your story is to give up hope. Hopeless surrender will alchemize your ancient pain much better than telling a story about it. Hopeless surrender will dissolve your pain into vibrant available energy, the energy of awareness.
But alchemy requires the dark. Alchemy happens not in the light of wishful thoughts and prayers, not in the repetition of cheery affirmations, but in the abyss. It happens not above but below, not beyond, but deep inside the fibrous warp and woof of your flesh.
Here you transcend, not out there but here in the untamed root, at the subnuclear quantum level of holy matter, in the black hole at the core of every atom. You will touch pure Being, not in the mind but at a cellular level.
Darkness is not the opposite of light, but the womb of light. The light of joy is born not as a story, not as a memory or an image in the mind, but as an electrical power in your bones, in your marrow, when awareness burns through trauma, and transmutes it.
Now you are alive without a story. The whole cosmos rushes in to fill the vacuum where hope used to be, where time used to be, where your tale of woe used to be. You can't explain anything anymore, thank God. There is nothing to complain about. Each instant is an inundation of wonder, a feral explosion of softness, a catastrophic dissolution where nothing remains but love.
until your breath dissolves
in the hollow heart
that has two chambers,
one for "I"
and one for "Thou,"
one for dawn and one
at the threshold of creation,
and the Word,
on the rose's mouth
just before sunrise.
I am trying to describe
the way your stem feels
when a blue moth settles
on the jasmine petal.
The tremor of the thread
in your spine
when you remember
that the sky has kissed
your brown body
every moment since birth.
The place where all
the laws of nature
(who are really gods and devas)
entangle in your peritoneum
so goldenly their
They murmur with
a single voice,
and so it is.
*Sanyama: a subtle practice described by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras. At the most refined level of thought, on the threshold of the uncreated, drop a seed of intention into that fructifying silence, and let it go. In its very abandonment, you give the intention tremendous creative power.